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Ross Kemp In Search Of Pirates

Ross Kemp In Search Of Pirates“The romantic idea of pirates from
two centuries ago prevails, with a
  resurgence of interest stirred by Jack
  Sparrow, played by heartthrob actor
  Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The
. Today pirates are again
  a reality and a serious threat to shipping,
  as actor Ross Kemp finds out in the
  television series In Search Of Pirates...”

DURING THE COURSE OF THE LAST TWO HUNDRED YEARS, piracy was believed have been left firmly in the past. While trade flourished, ships could go virtually unchallenged as they crossed the vast stretches of sea that took them to foreign lands.

But in recent years there have been threats to global trade from modern-day pirates, armed to the teeth with knives, heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and sophisticated radio systems, who will stop at nothing to in order to hijack a ship — even if it involves murder.

Ross Kemp In Search Of Pirates finds out what is being done to stop this threat and the actor visits three dangerous stretches of ocean where the pirates are most prolific and where hundreds of ships have been hijacked and crews held to ransom. The successful television series, which is now available on DVD, highlights the most vulnerable seas in the world.

The quickest trade route between the East and West is the Gulf of Aden — 23,000 vessels pass through every year. The world's waters are vital to global commerce, with ninety per cent of the world's trade being moved by sea. More than ten million cargo containers are moving across the oceans at any one time, yet it is the least policed area of the planet.

It is here that modern pirates flourish, seizing vessels to order, holding foreign hostages to ransom for vast amounts of money while often using undue force and extreme violence. The pirates are the key in a multi-million dollar business increasingly seen as one of the biggest, yet least publicised, threats to global security that has sent insurance premiums up ten-fold.

Over three fascinating episodes, Ross travels to the three pirate hotspots of the world: the dangerous regions of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden; Nigeria; and the seas of South East Asia, which is the second busiest shipping lane in the world. You will see what our mariners have to face each and every day as Ross examines the cause of piracy and dispels the myths surrounding one of today's greatest political and criminal problems.

An international fleet of warships has been sent to protect these vulnerable merchant ships and their crews, and Ross joins the Royal Navy on board HMS Northumberland (part of the European Coalition anti-piracy initiative known as Operation Atalanta) as it patrols the seas — the first time since 1816 that a Royal Navy ship has been tasked with an anti-piracy mission.

Getting to meet Somali pirates who are graduates from a 'pirate school', Ross explains that the Somalians are amongst the poorest people on the planet, with half the population starving, and that taking to the waters as a pirate is seen as a way out of grinding poverty.

In pirate-infested swamps Ross and the film crew face danger as they are warned they are at risk of being kidnapped and held to ransom. They witness an act of piracy and meet a kidnap victim who was forced to dig his own grave.

The actor also speaks to the family of Matthew Maguire, who was kidnapped on the way to an oil platform off the Nigerian coast and a young hero in South East Asia who, in 2005 as a crew member of the Nepline Delima, managed to save the ship, its cargo and the lives of the crew from pirates by using their own speedboat to travel 50 miles through rough seas to alert the police.

The South China Seas is historically a region feared by seafarers. There are thousands of tiny islands dotted around where smugglers and pirates can hide out. Four years ago the government there formed the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, primarily to combat piracy. Ross and the film crew join them on a patrol and one of their training exercises, involving the viewer in the shared excitement.

Join Ross and his award-winning team as they travel across the world's oceans in search of modern day pirates. Ross is the perfect host, suitably serious while presenting this absorbing and addictive series but with a sense of humour lurking just below the surface.

In Search Of Pirates is Presented by Ross Kemp; Original Music is by Bella Saer; Head of Production is Toby Ward; Producer is Tom Watson with Ross Kemp as an Executive Producer; and Director and Series Producer is Ewen Thomson.

Ross Kemp In Search Of Pirates is released on DVD on 20 July (2009). Price: 15.65 | Duration: 3 x 45 minutes | Extras: Exclusive Interview With Ross Kemp; Photo Gallery.

"Ross Kemp In Search Of Pirates Ross is the perfect host, suitably serious while presenting this absorbing and addictive series but with a sense of humour lurking just below the surface" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar